“It” began when I was a child. “It” became worse and a bit more obsessive when I shared a room with my younger sister. My, much messier sister. The “it” refers to what I’ll call “cleanliness perfectionism”. I don’t think my mom had to nag at me too much about picking up after myself, cleaning our bathroom, dusting our room…I was on top of it. Because I wanted to. Because, even as a teen, I liked things neat and orderly.
I was a responsible child who did homework as soon as I got home. Who, did projects as soon as they were assigned. Who, got out the painter’s tape to divide the room I shared with my sister in half. She had the side with clothes thrown on the bed or on the floor , papers and books all over, generally the side that looked like chaos. I had the neat, bed was made and books were stacked, orderly side.
After getting married it was okay. My husband picked up after himself. Even having a puppy soon after we married wasn’t too bad. Do you want to guess what did my “cleanliness perfectionism” in? Kids. Yes, those adorable, innocent looking children. It didn’t really start until they could crawl, but for sure when they started to walk.
I mean, I have to be thankful for the idea of childproof hinges otherwise my kitchen cabinets would be empty on the daily. Toys strewn all over. We had the idea of having a playroom – you know, the room where the toys would stay. They don’t. They grow legs and go to other areas of the house. There’s food and spills on the floor (especially in the baby and toddler ages). Do I need to go into the gory details of the bathroom involving boys? My toddler follows me around while I dust sometimes and (I think almost purposely) puts his hand on the glass side tables right after I’ve cleaned them off. Times I’ve put toys back in bins, my toddler is right behind me taking them back out.
No matter how hard I try, my house doesn’t stay clean for longer than five minutes unless the kids are physically out of it. In addition to feeling overwhelmed having my house a wreck a majority of the time, I also have overwhelming feelings of being the only one who attempts to keep it fairly clean. I need to do better about having my older kids do chores. It is one of those cases where by the time the child actually begins the chore, I could have had it done (meaning, there’s usually some nagging involved). The “nagging” makes me frustrated and mentally tired that most of the time I’d rather just do things myself.
Have you seen a chore chart by age?
Like other parts of childhood, I’m trying to remember that this is a phase. Kids will no longer play with toys. They will get jobs and be out of the house sometimes more than in. To “control the chaos” for now, I’m really kind of trying to let go. Let messes sit a few days. I need to delegate house chores. Funnily enough, I will probably miss that my house isn’t a mess one day.